DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
WARNING: This story contains scenes of bloody violence. Reader discretion is advised.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Unlocking the door to the run down two-bedroom home, Grayson rubbed the side of her face not concealed in the steel mask. Shutting the door behind herself, she shrugged out of the long light coat, laying it, and her holsters gun still in them, over the cheap furniture. Collapsing onto the couch, she reached under the coffee table, pulling out the bottle of whiskey and the glass she had left from earlier. Pouring a copious amount into the glass, she lifted it to her lips, gulping down the amber liquid and savoring the burn as it sank its way through her nerves, soothing her frazzled state of mind. She repeated the same cycle four times until finally the shaking in her hands had stopped. Enough for her to light a joint, and burn through it enough to stop her mind from screaming about how she should just blow her own head off to save everyone the trouble.
Thankfully, by now she had learned to dull out the inner voices that sounded frighteningly enough like Calleigh, Jordan, Natalia, and Sonia. Her heart ached physically, a leather-gloved hand reached up rubbing across her sternum as she tried in vain not to cry. Large tears began dripping down Grayson's bronze and steel cheeks, silent as midnight snow. Winter in Miami had a chill in the air yes, but it wasn't New York, and it defiantly wasn't Vancouver. After her little stay in New York, where Stefan delighted in teaching the young woman the finer points of how to terrorize a target; she had been released from active duty for a year furlong to take some time off.
After trying to find Quinn in New York; which ended in a dead end, as she had apparently changed her name and no one had heard from her since, including all of their old friends. Grayson didn't really want to contact her, just merely seeking peace of mind. Now she had to do the same for Sonia, which in all truth was going to be harder than she could outwardly admit. Grayson had known she was in love with Quinn long before that tragic night, probably from their first words. All Gray could do was stare at those beautiful eerie green eyes, soul piercing and calculating her every move, there was nothing she could do to hide anything from Quinn. Sonia on the other hand, brought forth an entire new animal in Grayson that she hadn't known existed, this shy side. No woman had ever pursued her like Sonia had, relentless in her drive to have the Italian, it kept Grayson at odds with herself.
Removing leather gloves, laying them beside her still burning illegal contraband, next to the still dusty bottle of whiskey, the brooding assassin leant back into the couch closing her eyes. Three months of Stefan constantly torturing her, beating her, whipping her, mentally abusing her, waking up to him standing over her bed in the middle of the night while he played with her hair, Grayson was ready to crack at any moment. Why was Judas taking so long to chase her? He had never waited this long before, always choosing to attack with a month or so of her moving towns. The fact that he had been so close to Calleigh and Natalia, doing nothing, something had to be amiss. But what?
Shakily, Grayson ran a hand up over her face gently tugging the metal mask off her face, laying it on the table as well opening her eyes. The only emotions she felt besides terror was rage, anger, how these people dare think that they could control and manipulate her through her own fear. This was the first time she had truly allowed herself to feel something besides fear. Being afraid was what had kept her safe, kept her sane, and most of all, kept her alive. Fear was the adrenaline rush, the drive, the power the pain, the insanity in everything that kept her moving.
Grayson's eyes slid to the pistol in her holster laying on top of the coat. How many times had she pressed that barrel against her own temple wishing she had the nerve to pull the trigger. She didn't, and God how she'd tried, always pulling it away at the last second, shaking uncontrollably.
The one and only time she'd ever had the nerve to pull the trigger, the gun had misfired. When she had set it down on the table, it had gone off, shattering through her favorite bong. Not only was she scared, now she was mad. Afterwards, she had a good drunken laugh and smoked enough to make she forget that she hadn't tried to take her own life and failed. As much as she wanted to claim that it was Jordan's' brotherly love that kept her going, or maybe it was Sonia's desperation for her, that Grayson almost mirrored, maybe that was what kept her from putting a titanium hollow point 9mm bullet through her right temple. Or was it Natalia's pure love, pure faith, pure trust that she could reach past the monster on the surface to whatever it was inside of Gray that kept everyone at arms distance? It could have even been Calleigh's calm acceptance and friendship that seemed to be Grayson's rock in the hellacious storm that had been the Miami Incident as she referred to it personally. There was no going back now; she had changed things forever. Even if she ended things, she was not going back to her family. No child deserved to be raised around monsters, look how she had turned out. But no, it was her thirst for revenge, the bloodlust for the final kill, to avenge her parents and take back her soul.
The performances, the flashy attitude, the clothes, the cars, the magazine cover 'she personally enjoyed that', the swagger, the talking, everything was a big giant red flag in a bulls face. She was hoping the bull would charge so she could have the rest of the carcass to carve up as she pleased. Judas was the beast, but Grayson wanted the person that had unleashed him. Then after he was dead, she had two more birds and only one stone. Stefan, and her beloved Grandfather. Everyone would die, and she would be the one that killed them.
Pulling the gun out of the holster, she laid the Ruger on the table next to her glass, and a few feet from the ashtray. Sometimes, more often than not, she wished for something random to happen to her. A car accident, maybe cancer or something that would cripple her unable to work, but still alive. Even paralyzed, she would be happier being frozen than being someone's lackey. She had next to no control over her own life, she didn't even control whom she could date, or even who she could vote for, and her unalienable rights had been alienated.
Clenching her hands, she made sure the joint was out in the ashtray before she leaned back deep into the couch. Closing her eyes, she slowly succumbed to a dream riddled sleep filled with the faces of so many men she had butchered along the way.
In the midst of a deep nightmare, she sat up screaming, falling off the couch, crawling into the corner of the room where she wrapped her arms tight around her legs, sobbing softly. Grayson began to rock back and forth until she finally calmed down enough to stop crying and shaking. Clenching her fists, she muttered to herself under her breath. "It was just a nightmare Just a nightmare." That was after all where she had gotten her nickname, her enemies feared the things she did, her nightmares. Standing up and showering in the small bathroom, Grayson then began to dress.
Pushing her midnight black hair into a ponytail and tying it up loosely, she slipped on a black leather-riding jacket, along with distressed denim blue jeans and black boots. Making sure the small note was placed tight against her chest much like the pendant Natalia had given her, Grayson zipped up the leather jacket and pushed the IPod buds into her ears. She then picked up the matte black full helmet, and pushed on leather gloves and dark sunglasses. Looking at herself in the reflection of the mirrored visor on her helmet, the Italian smiled. She looked like a true villain, so dark and brooding. Though she hadn't bother to place the mask on her face, she hadn't wanted to alarm Izzy. It would confuse child if she couldn't see her face entirely. The scars had been covered with as much stage make up as possible though the long purple marks on her beautiful face were still visible beyond her attempts. Locking the door behind her, Grayson made sure the expensive car was covered before she slid the tarp off her matte black Harley Davidson VRSC Night Rod Special. It was a thing of beauty, a monster of raw power, class, hard work, and mean muscle. Straddling the bike and pulling on her helmet, she slid the key into the ignition and kicked the engine into life
Making short work of the treacherous drive across town to Christine and Andre's house, Natalia's nieces should have been out of school by now. Grayson pulled back the leather on her wrist and checked her watch for the time. Both she and the bike were partially hidden by a low hanging tree several blocks down as she waited with her helmet still on pretending to fiddle with her IPod to the passerby.
Grayson actually heard the girls before she actually saw them. Christine, Eva, and Isabel turned the corner at the end of the block and continued their walk home from school. It was Christine's special time of the day where she has to pay full attention to the girls as they told her about their day at school while she made sure that they got plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Isabel was skipping ahead of her mother and sister and she caught sight of the young woman on the bike and smiled as she held her finger up to her lips to keep quiet. Isabel remembered the lady from the airport and her Tia's house so she nodded her head and continued on like nothing had happened.
Grayson was startled at the child recognizing her. Children, especially this one, were much more perceptive than adults gave them credit for. Beneath the visor, her smile was enormous though, Izzy was definitely an interesting, if not precious child. Resting back on her haunches, she raised her feet up on the pegs of the bike, pulling off her helmet, much after Christine had walked by and watched them walk into their front yard.
"Mommy... Can I play out here for a little while? I don't have any work to do for school." Isabel danced around Natalia's younger sister as she made her way up the front sidewalk.
"Just for a little while. You know that you have your housework to do today. It's your turn to fill up Mallory's food dish and to brush his coat." The little girl grinned as her mother finally went inside with her older sister and now she would see what Tia's friend really wanted.
After Christine had been in the house for about ten minutes, the assassin pushed the bike into gear, starting it with a dull rumble. She cruised down the street and parked just out of view of the large bay windows. Izzy would still be in the yard, and in view of her mother, but Grayson was in the one blind spot in the front yard. Setting the helmet down on the gas tank, she watched the little girl playing for a moment, her grin still enormous, though her eyes were hidden by the matte black glasses.
Isabel seemed to know that she was being watched as her head came up and she stared at the woman in the sunglasses. She thought that it was silly that grown-ups wore sunglasses even when it wasn't sunny like today, but she knew that grown-up often did strange things.
"Um... hi?" Grayson spoke tentatively, sliding off the dark glasses, hoping the child wouldn't be frightened of her face.
"Hi... my Tia's aren't here today... but if you want, I can go get momma to call them for you. I know that Tia Talia loves you lot. I saw her hugging you that day." The little girl asked.
Smiling and taking moments to steel her voice, despite the severe ache in her chest, Grayson nodded. "I love your Tia's very much... You're... Isabelle right?" she asked hesitantly, stepping off the bike to sit in the grass beside the little girl. Her elbows resting on blue jean clad knees as she unzipped the jacket, pulling the letter into view.
Sitting cross-legged, the little girl nodded her head. "Yes ma'am, but Tia Calleigh calls me Izzy B... and I think that she's funny when she does that."
"Hmmm..." Grayson tapped her chin playfully, as if deep in thought, she looked sideways at the child. "What if I told you I had a 'Super Secret Operation' for you to help me with..." She asked in a low conspiratorial whisper behind cupped hands, her voice even had a faux German accent.
Isabel looked at her with a strange look upon her face. "Why are you talking funny?"
Grayson smiled, looking down the street, this way and that, it was broad day light, and at any moment, a strange sedan could drive the road and see something, or do something. She shivered internally and shook herself, pulling out the letter written on expensive stationary.
Though she was sure it would be lost on anyone, but her how much she loved the little things in life, she tapped the letter against her leg for long moments.
Eyeing the long piece of paper, Isabel knew that this was something important so she put her elbows on her knees and propped her head in her hands to wait. Grown-up needed to take their time; she had learned that watching her parents and her Tia's.
"I was going to ask you to give something to your Tia's for me..." Though Grayson's accent was Texan for the most part, when she spoke the Spanish title, her accent turned Italian, and she smiled, thinking of her family for a moment. She turned to look back at the child, her normally dark eyes were a warm chocolate brown, and she smiled gently down at the mini version of her mother.
The brown haired girl nodded her head and waited for her to go on.
Setting her legs flat on the grass, she handed the letter to the little girl. "Give this only to your Tia Natalia... Tell her not to believe everything she sees..." The Italian youngster turned her head sharply to look down the street when she thought she heard something, but it turned out to be someone slamming their front door after walking in from an afternoon jog.
"Okay... but why don't you give it to her? I know she wants to see you... I hear her talking with momma, Tia Calleigh and Tio Jordy... Wondering when you are coming back." Isabel immediately started folding the note so that it could fit inside her favorite pink purse.
Laughing softly at the cute accessory, she bit the inside of her lip trying to stop the tears from slipping down her freckled cheeks. "You know how your... Grandfather?" She didn't remember the Spanish word for the title. "He is a nice man, yes?"
Nodding her head, Isabel agreed. "Yes, but he yelled at Tia Talia the last time that he saw her and made her cry. Mommy didn't know that I watched from the door."
Narrowing her eyes, Grayson bit her tongue to keep from grilling her, since after all she was only a child. "Sometimes grownups yell at one another without meaning to. They get very emotional when they want to protect their family."
"I know that silly. I don't know why you have to do that, but you sent us to go see grandpa in Puerto Rico and we played on the beach." Isabel's brown eyes lit up just like her Tia Natalia's and Grayson swallowed the lump that was in her throat.
Turning away, unable to look at the little girl, she pushed her sunglasses on covering watery eyes. "I'm glad you had fun. Anytime you want to go somewhere, anywhere in the world..." She turned the black lenses onto the little girl. "Ask your Tio Jordy, he can take you anywhere you could ever dream of." She smiled, standing up to her full height and then extending a bare hand to the little girl, having taken off her gloves when she sat down.
Isabel took the hand and pulled herself up, taking the time to look closely at this grown-up. "You look like Tio Jordy. Are you his sister?"
Looking at the little girl, she straddled the bike, pushing it onto its wheels and off its metal stand. "I used to be." She said enigmatically, pulling her helmet on over her features and kicking the bike to life, in seconds she was gone.
Everything sounded muted... Why were things so quiet. Calleigh tried to sit up, but for some reason everything felt so heavy. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see beige walls and not the pale green walls of her bedroom. Turning her head, she saw the back of a man, a doctor she assumed since he was wearing a lab coat. Clearing her throat, she got his attention.
Starting at the noise, Dr. O'Conner almost dropped his clipboard, turning around, he rushed to Calleigh's side, lifting a glass of water with a straw to her lips. "Mrs. DuVista... Drink. You have been in a coma for the past few days and may experience some strange symptoms. " He explained, helping her sit up against large plush pillows.
Coughing, Calleigh struggled to sit up even with the Doctor's help. After sipping the water, Calleigh turned to look at the man. "What happened?"
"You were returning home to be with your wife after processing a scene. A motorcycle swerved in front of a semi-truck causing him to clip the back of your car, pushing you into the guardrail where the car was crushed to a pulp. You are lucky to be alive Mrs. DuVista." He began checking her vitals while talking.
"DuVista... Who are you talking about? I don't know who you are talking about." Calleigh looked at him in puzzlement.
Slowly it dawned on the Doctor what had happened, which caused him to stare down at her in horror. "What do you remember?" He asked in a hushed tone, fearing the worst.
Looking around the room, Calleigh's eyes wildly scanned over everything while her mind was searching for answers to his question. "Umm, I know my name Calleigh Duquesne, and I work for the Miami Dade Police Department."
"Shhh, calm down." Dr. O'Conner took the blonde's hand in his, squeezing it tightly, trying to reassure her. "Actually your name is Calleigh DuVista, you are married to Natalia DuVista, who I believe is the DNA lead in your lab. You are expecting a little boy, in about a month or so..." He spoke slowly to her, trying to explain things as best he could.
Shaking her head, Calleigh tried to understand what he was saying. "I think that you are mistaken. I'm not married. Now I know a Natalia Boa Vista, but I am definitely not married to her."
Natalia walked in at the wrong moment, catching the end of Calleigh saying she was definitely not married to her. Her hand flew to her mouth, covering it as she realized what was going on, Jordan coming in seconds behind her, oblivious to the conversation he had entered into.
"Hey Short Stack... You're awake! It's about time." Jordan came around the other side of the bed to give Calleigh a hug.
Leaning away from the large man, Calleigh's eyes went wide. "Who are you?"
Jordan started and then backed off slowly once he realized what had happened to Calleigh. He turned to the doctor, angry at the situation spiraling out of control. "What the hell? She doesn't even remember her own family?!" He nearly shouted.
Natalia stood at the end of the bed, looking at her wife, noticing the trapped look on her face. "Jordan! Be quiet!" Going to stand beside Dr.. O'Conner, the brunette weakly smiled. "Hi Calleigh... I'm glad that you're awake."
Turning to the doctor, she asked to speak to him outside before turning back to the blonde. "If it's okay with you, I'd like Jordan to stay with you for a moment."
Instantly backing as far away from the blonde as he could, Jordan sat silently in the chair Natalia had been occupying for days, facing the window, his face impassive as thousands of thoughts ran through his mind. The Doctor followed Natalia outside, his mind just as trouble as Jordan's.
Leaning her forehead against the wall opposite the door, Natalia breathed in through her nose, trying not to scream out her anguish. Her wife was gone... While her body was present, all of the memories of them as a couple were gone. All of their plans had just disappeared in a split second.
Swallowing hard, Natalia turned around to face the doctor. "Alright, give me the news. How long will this last?"
Dr. O'Conner pulled Natalia away from the wall to sit her in the softest chair he could find, he sat down next to her. "Just like with her waking up, it could be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year or it could be permanent. The longer she's awake, the harder it is for her to regain the memories. Though I suspect she will regain her memory, it will probably be triggered when she sees something that will flip the switch in her brain." He answered softly.
"What can I do to help her? Is there anything that I shouldn't do. Tell me?" Natalia was beginning to sound desperate.
Laying a hand on her arm, the man tried to calm his patient. "You have to be calm for her, and be there for her, but do not overwhelm her with information, let her take things at her own pace. I would also suggest giving her as much physical space as possible." He added the last part reluctantly, but it was a good idea for both of his patients.
Taking a deep breath, Natalia closed her eyes while her hands were taking tiny circles on her swollen belly. Caden was fluttering about. Their son.... Calleigh had to remember their son. Standing up, she smoothed out her shirt and started towards Calleigh's room.
"Natalia... What are you planning?" Dr. O'Conner followed close behind her, dogging her footsteps.
"I'm going to see my wife. I will give her space, I will only give her information when she asks for it, but I will not leave her alone." Natalia turned back to Dr.. O'Conner. "I will take things easy, I will eat and sleep properly and take my vitamins, but I will not walk away from Calleigh."
"I'm not asking you too." Dr. O'Conner sighed impatiently, blocking the doorway. "My concern is for both of you and the baby. Please take a few moments to calm down Mrs. DuVista." He pleaded.
Growling, Natalia restrained herself from putting a hand on his chest and pushing him out of the way. "I will calm down once I am in the room with my wife. You are the one that is making me upset. I suggest you move."
Stepping quickly out of her way, Dr.. O'Conner visibly shivered at the venom in Natalia's voice,. He walked quickly down the hallway to the nurse's station to inform them of the change in Calleigh's condition.
Pushing open the door, Natalia walked in to see Jordan staring out the window and Calleigh sitting up in bed, quietly looking around. "Jordan, why don't you wait outside for bit."
Standing up, he walked over to lean his massive form down, brushing a small kiss on her cheek with a soft pat to her swollen stomach, he left them alone without a word.
Natalia smiled sadly up at her cousin when he patted her stomach gently, her hand covering his for a small moment before he pulled away, leaving them. She took her place back in the chair she had occupied for days. Taking a moment to steady her frazzled nerves, she gently rubbed her stomach in small circles while Caden fluttered around, sometimes it felt like there were two of them in there. Smiling at the tender thought, she latched onto it, hoping it would bring her strength as she finally looked at Calleigh somewhat painfully.
Looking down at her hands, Calleigh whispered. "They said that we're married. Is that true?"
Taking her time with another deep breath, Natalia stared long and hard at Calleigh, reaching up she unconsciously played with the necklace that their wedding rings hung from, afraid of how her answer would affect them both,. "Does that bother you?"
Keeping her head bent, the blonde shook it. "I just don't remember falling in love with you. I thought that we were just friends."
Closing her eyes as the tears threatened to fall, it physically hurt her heart when she heard those words. She turned her head away from Calleigh, staring out the window, wondering for a moment what it had been to keep Jordan calm. "We can go back to that. Don't worry. I can raise him on my own..." She whispered brokenly.
Glancing over, Calleigh finally noticed that the brunette was pregnant and then remember what the doctor had said. 'You're expecting a little boy in about month or so.' Clearing her throat, she asked. "Have we decided on a name?"
Tears slipped silently down Natalia's bronze cheeks, past long lashes. "We had planned to name him Caden Matteo DuVista." she answered, still not looking at Calleigh, it hurt too much.
"Caden... that was my grandfathers name and I think that Matteo means Gift of God." Calleigh shook her head. "I can remember something like a name meaning, but I can't remember something like my wife. Make perfect sense huh?"
Natalia didn't answer her, afraid she would lose control and break down crying, she continued to stare out the window, rubbing her swollen belly.
The room was quiet for a long time before Calleigh asked. "How long have we been together?"
"A year and a half... A little more maybe..." She sighed as Caden resorted to back flips inside of the womb, protest at hearing his momma's voice, but unable to be near her.
Looking at the brunette carefully, Calleigh asked. "Are you feeling alright? Should I call a nurse?"
"I'm fine Cal...Leigh." She finished awkwardly, wanting to use her nickname for her wife, but unable to finish it properly, she just made it a continuation of her name.
Sitting up straighter, Calleigh made a decision. Swinging her legs off the bed, she slid down until her feet touched the floor. Then taking a couple of steps until she was next to the chair, she knelt down. Slowly she reached out and almost placed her hand on Natalia's belly when she stopped. "May I?"
Wounded chocolate eyes stared back at Calleigh before Natalia removed the hand. It was like allowing a stranger to touch her with the hesitancy she saw in her wife's eyes.
Gently, Calleigh placed her hand on Natalia's belly, never looking away from her eyes. Movements underneath her hand caused her own eyes to go wide. "He's active."
"Very, I usually blame that on you..." She smiled hesitantly before looking down at Calleigh's hand on her stomach. "Normally when you're near, he is much calmer." She admitted painfully.
Still not taking her eyes off Natalia's, Calleigh leaded forward to place her lips very close to her stomach. "Hey in there. Settle down for a little bit. Your mommy is a little bit upset right now."
Almost instantly, Caden stopped moving, though there was a slight movement off to the right of Calleigh's hand that continued. Confused, Natalia covered Calleigh's hand with her own, just as her stomach settled. "See, I told you." She whispered sadly.
"Hey! I'm sorry that I can't remember, but I'll try really hard to get all of my memories back. This is just as frustrating for me as it is for you." Calleigh whispered.
"It's not your fault Calleigh... I'll be here if and when you ever regain your memory..." Natalia looked away from the tempting green eyes to look back out the window, trying not to burst into tears. "We both will."
Sitting back on her heels, and then slowly pushing herself up to a standing position, Calleigh took a step back. "Are you going somewhere?"
"Not unless you want me too..?" Natalia turned to look back at Calleigh, trying to shove her emotions down deep, much like she had seen Grayson do countless times.
Shoving down her stubbornness and pride, Calleigh shook her head. "No, I don't. I may not remember you, but I know where my responsibilities lie and I know that I need your help."
"You don't owe me anything Calleigh, I won't demand that of you. Jordan..." Natalia waved to the door behind them. "Will help me while you try to regain your memory. You just need to concentrate on getting better okay?" Natalia asked pleadingly.
Taking a deep breath, Calleigh bit down on her first reaction, instead she whispered. "So you're asking me to stay away until I regain my memory? It doesn't matter that I want to do what's right. I'm assuming that this child was a choice that we both made, but now you want me to stay away until I remember?"
It took Natalia a moment to get to her feet, being seven months pregnant made it difficult when she couldn't see her own feet anymore. Taking Calleigh's hands in her own, placing them on her belly, she pleaded softly. "That's not what I mean at all... I simply meant I don't want you to feel obligated to do something your heart is no longer in." Natalia felt the words fall from her lips, making her heart crumble a little inside her chest. "I want you to be healthy... Okay?" She sighed, staring deep into Calleigh's eyes.
Looking into her tearful eyes, Calleigh shook her head and whispered back. "I can't remember, but I know that there is something important here, and I don't just mean the baby. I must love you very much because I married you. I'm asking for your help, your patience and your understanding to try and remember. I won't just walk away because I don't know who we are. I... Don't know what I'm asking for."
Pulling her hands away from Natalia's, Calleigh turned back to the bed to sit down. "Maybe it would be better for you if I went somewhere else. I don't know... I just don't know."
"Anywhere you are is where I belong." Natalia said before she could stop herself.
"Then tell me what to do. What do you want?"
"I just want you As a friend if I can't have anything more... Just as a friend. I want to help you because before we were to be parents, before we were married, before we were lovers, we were friends Calleigh." Natalia pleaded with her softly.
Looking into Natalia's eyes, Calleigh's brow furrowed for a moment as she whispered. "Why do I have the urge to kiss you?"
Taking a calming breath, Natalia laughed slightly, loosening the tension between them. "That's what you usually do when I'm sad..."
Before she could stop herself, Calleigh took a step forward, to reach up and caress Natalia's face. "Don't be sad. We can get through this."
Just like Calleigh, Natalia was a slave to her emotions as her head tilted further into Calleigh's palm, her eyes closing. At that moment, she truly believed they could get through this. "Do you promise?"
"I will if you can get me out of here. I can't remember anything in this room... Other than... We've spent way too much time here in the hospital." Calleigh laughed.
Smiling Natalia took Calleigh's hand in her own squeezing it, glad to hear her wife laughing at least. "Okay. I'll ask Jordan to go find Dr. O'Conner." Natalia released Calleigh's hand, walking to the door to ask Jordan to come into the room, which he did with a questioning look. Natalia explained to him that Calleigh needed to be home and out of the hospital. His dark brooding eyes flashed to Calleigh before he nodded, leaving the room to find the Doctor.
"Can I ask you a question?" Calleigh asked, feeling shy all of a sudden.
"Of course " Natalia replied softly, leading Calleigh to sit back down on the hospital bed.
Motioning to the door, the blonde asked. "Who is he? I don't recognize him at all."
"My mother was disowned when I was still in my twenties, and I found out about six months ago that she had a sister who had passed away around the same time she was disowned. Jordan is my cousin, from my mother's side, he is very sweet despite his appearance. He's like a large teddy bear." Natalia admitted smiling at the thought of Jordan trying to be anything, but a sweet man.
"He seems very protective. Are he and I friends?" Calleigh remembered his outburst.
"Yes, you two are very close. And yes, he is incredibly protective, of the both of us." Natalia returned.
Chuckling, the blonde thought of something. "Where do we live? Did you move into my condo or did I move in with you?"
"With me, we live together in our home.." Thinking about the dogs at home, she amended her statement. "We have two dogs, Echo and Adonis... Gifts from Jordan. Protection for when he's not around." Natalia smiled.
"Okay, that's good. Umm... Can you tell me about people at work? How's Horatio, Eric and Ryan? Have they been stopping by since I've been in here?" Calleigh sat on the bed, patting the spot next to her for Natalia to sit.
Sitting slowly on the bed next to Calleigh, Natalia ignored Eric's name, smoothing it over with details about Horatio and Ryan.
"Is Eric Caden's sperm donor. One of the things that I do remember is that you were dating him." Calleigh innocently asked.
The look on Natalia's face became pale, terrified, and scared, she backed away from Calleigh, shaking her head back and forth, beginning to shake. "N-N-No he's not We used an anonymous sperm donor... Eric..." She almost broke down, crying at the thought of her ex and the things he had done to them over the past year.
Quickly, Calleigh reached out to draw Natalia into her embrace. "Shh... It's okay. Talia... Listen to me... I'm sorry. Shh.." Reaching up, she framed the brunette's face with her hands. "Look at me... I'm right here..." This time she gave into her urge, rising up on her tiptoes, she hesitantly brushed her lips against Natalia's tear damped ones.
At the touch, Calleigh felt something stir deep within her. Gasping, she leaned back, her eyes wide.
Startled by both of Calleigh's reactions, Natalia moved away from her, terrified that she herself had done something wrong. "I am sorry... I don't know what I was thinking.."
Before Calleigh could say anything, Dr. O'Conner followed by Jordan, walked in tapping a pen against his clipboard. "Feeling any better?"
"Get out!" Calleigh growled.
Dr. O'Conner opened his mouth like he was going to protest, but anything he would have said was ruined by Jordan's bear like grasp around the lapels of his lab coat, lifting the man off his feet, he escorted the Doctor from the room, along with himself.
Walking over to the shaking woman, Calleigh softly asked. "Why did you say that you were sorry?"
"I shouldn't be rushing you." Natalia worried, her hands twisted, then going naturally to her stomach where Caden was being very fussy. Grimacing at a particularly hard kick, she rubbed the spot softly.
Smiling shyly, Calleigh laughed. "I'm the one that kissed you Darlin', and when I did, I felt something in here." She placed her hand over her heart. "And it surprised me." Seeing Natalia rubbing her stomach, the blonde dropped to her knees. "Hey in there... It's me again. Calm down... Things are going to be okay. I've just got to find my way back... Okay?" Looking up, green eyes met copper ones. "Okay?"
Running a hand through golden locks, Natalia sighed, nodding her head as Caden once again relaxed under Calleigh's touch. Shaking her head, she finally spoke. "Okay..." She whispered back just as shyly, terrified of Calleigh never regaining what they had to begin with.
"Do you think that we should let everyone back in now so we can go home and you can show me what I'm missing?" Calleigh asked with a grin.
"Now you understand what I mean when I say that Jordan is protective of us." Natalia smiled, nodding, since she had barked loud enough to make everyone to leave.
Opening the door, Calleigh apologized to the doctor and Jordan. "Sorry about that, I needed to make sure that Talia and I were on the same page and you came in at the wrong time."
Jordan simply smiled waving a hand at Calleigh's apologies. "It's all good Short Stack... Not a problem at all. Right Dr. O'Conner.." He smiled patting the Doctor rather hard on the back, who gulped and nodded.
Calleigh bit her lip to keep from laughing at the doctor's face. "So Doc, can I get out of here?"
"Yes." He stuttered a bit, handing Natalia Calleigh's discharge papers, along with several prescriptions for the pain medication she would need. Having some banged up body parts was bound to bring anyone in need of painkillers to the pharmacy. Natalia took them, smiling as Dr. O'Conner turned on his heel, leaving while Jordan busied himself with packing all of Natalia's personal things into a small duffel bag they had been brought in.
Looking around, Calleigh didn't see something so she sat on the bed before she posed her question. Holding up her hand, she waited.
Jordan stilled immediately worried while Natalia looked at her wife. "What's wrong?"
Smiling the blonde asked. "Do I have any clothes or do I get to walk out of here buck naked?"
Jordan balked at the idea. "Eww. Shorty naked... Awkward. " He laughed lightly, pulling out a pair of Natalia's sweats she had been sleeping them, handing them to Calleigh.
"Man, I can tell that you're a lot of fun, Bigfoot." Calleigh shot back. Going into the bathroom, she left Natalia and Jordan alone for a few minutes.
Raising his eyebrows to the sky, he turned to look at Natalia. "Natty?" His voice lost all teasing tone, turning worried and afraid for her.
Taking a deep breath, Natalia went over to her cousin. Placing a hand on his chest, she whispered. "She can feel a connection, but doesn't get it yet. We need to give her time and not force anything Jordy. Just answer any question that she has and don't add anything. In other words, be precise."
Smiling, he leaned his head down against hers, engulfing her in an enormous bear hug, his hand going to her stomach smiling as Caden pressed a particularly sharp tap up against his fist. "Little dude..." He smiled, kneeling down on one large knee, his ruggedly handsome face inches from Natalia's swollen belly. "I'm sorry you woke up so early, I will get you home for a nap, I promise." His voice gruff.
Running her fingers through Jordan's unruly hair, Natalia laughed. "This is going to sound so wrong, but it's true. I don't know who spends more time down on their knees in front of my stomach... You or Calleigh."
Calleigh opened the door and caught the tail end of Natalia's comment. "I am so not going to get anywhere near that." Calleigh's drawl was very evident.
"Good, because I'm not the 'Comeback Kid'." He almost added 'that's my sister' but stopped himself as images of this supposedly offensive woman who had interrogated Natalia in the middle of the hospital looking for him. Natalia had told him to be precise in his words, say no more than he had to, but make sure the truth was obvious. In other words be mindful of your words, for they are your actions.
Laughing, Calleigh went over to the young man, punching him on the arm. "Listen... Um Jordan. I'm gonna need your help. I remember nothing at all about you, but Talia says that we're good friends so I'm going to depend on you to help me out."
A small smile fluttered across Natalia's tired features, Calleigh was using her shortened nickname, Talia. It made her heart rush just to hear it come from those lips again, briefly, very briefly she had entertained the thought of her wife not awakening. Jordan had crushed a glass in his giant grasp at the voiced fear, ignoring the blood and glass on the countertop, he had drawn her into a hug late that night at home, claiming that Calleigh was too strong for that to happen. The blonde had said it of her own accord, without even realizing it.
Looking over to Jordan, Natalia had smiled. She knew that he was thinking the same thing that she was. That with time, Calleigh would make her way back to them.
Jordan collected all of their things, then he helped Natalia into the elevator and made sure Calleigh was mostly fine, which she was.
It was a testament to Southern breeding and the blonde's tenacity, she flat out demanded that she be allowed to buckle Natalia's seatbelt, which made the brunette smile, but say nothing. The drive home was pleasantly silent as Calleigh was content staring out the window behind a pair of dark reflective Oakley sunglasses she had found in the bottom of the Volvo.
Pulling into the DuVista driveway, Calleigh saw nothing that was overly familiar other than they were in Miami. Getting out of the car, she opened the front passenger door and helped Natalia out of the car. "I take it that we are home huh?"
One hand over her stomach, Natalia nodded as Adonis and Echo's outlines appeared out either side of their door, their eyes glued to Natalia's body, tense in preparation to defend and attack if need be. "Yep and those are dogs." Natalia nodded at the huge American Pit Bulls.
Stopping, Calleigh held out her hand to halt Natalia. "I've heard that Pit Bulls are dangerous to be around. Are you sure that they are safe?"
Jordan stopped and turned to look at Calleigh while Natalia gently lowered the blonde's arm. "Jordan has trained them since they were puppies to obey specific commands. The most satisfying thing about dogs who have the most respectable pain tolerance and the hardest bite is that yes, they may be lethal..." Natalia began, but Jordan finished the sentence for her.
"However, their need to please their master is higher and by nature, they aren't violent dogs. If a small group of men broke into the house in the middle the night, not only would you know about it, you would have time to call 911, load a gun and finish the job yourself." He smiled, trying to explain how well his sister had trained the dogs from birth.
Shrugging her shoulders, Calleigh admitted. "Well, since you put it that way." She held out her arms and bowed lower. "My lady, your castle awaits."
Following Natalia up the front walk, Calleigh had to admit to herself that she did have a very sexy walk. Shaking her head, she wondered when their relationship started. That was one question that she was going to ask.
Unlocking the front door, Natalia stood back to let Calleigh go in first. The minute that she crossed the threshold, the blonde felt that something very bad had happened there. Flashes of glass, a pool net, pieces of wood exploded behind her eyes and she stumbled backwards.
"No Can't go in Too dark." Calleigh backpedaled, bumping into Natalia, but reaching out to make sure that she didn't fall before continuing walking backward until she was at the edge of the yard, almost in the street.
Jordan laughed as he watched her. "Hey Short Stack, you're supposed to go into the house, not out into the street."
Placing her hand on Jordan's arm, Natalia shook her head. "Quiet Jordan Something else is wrong. Stay here for a minute." Slowly she walked towards the blonde with one hand on her stomach and holding the other out to her wife. "Calleigh What's the matter? Talk to me please."
Standing with her arms crossed over her chest, Calleigh's eyes were wild, darting around the house and the yard and she was gasping for air. "Something happened there I saw something I can't put it together."
Taking one of Calleigh's hand in hers, Natalia stepped up close to her. Turning to her cousin, she asked him to go into the house and open all of the drapes and the sliding doors to the back yard, letting in as much light as possible, then to come out when he had finished.
The two women waited until Jordan walked back out and over to stand next to them. "Calleigh, I give you my word that I won't let anyone hurt you or Natalia. There's nothing in there that can hurt you."
Looking at her wife, Natalia could still see the fear in her eyes, so she faced her, making sure that her body blocked the blonde's view of the house and took both of her hands in hers. "Calleigh do you trust me?"
Calleigh nodded her head and whispered. "Yes."
"Alright then, I want you to close your eyes and just listen to my voice."
Staring at her for a moment, Calleigh took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "Can you tell me how we got together?"
Smiling, Natalia wound their hands tighter together. "Do you remember George Kornspan and the investigation?"
The blonde tilted in thought for a few moments. "Yeah, I do. I was shot... That's actually the last thing that I remember... George shot me."
Smiling, Natalia continued. "That's right... Thankfully you were wearing a vest..." She smiled fondly at the memory. "You showed up at my house, out of the blue... In shock. Our bodies were drawn together... The rest... Well, the rest they say is history."
Calleigh tried desperately to remember all the memories that she shared with this beautiful woman. Nothing came to her, which caused the blonde to become frustrated, tightening her grip on Natalia's hands as her brow creased.
"Calleigh, stop trying so hard... Things will come to you when they come to you... I just want you to concentrate on my voice... Nothing more." Natalia's voice was low and soft. "We took things slow... Just like the way that we are going to do now."
The blonde sighed and nodded. "I just want my life back... Whatever it was." she whispered.
"Calleigh, think of it this way... We get to fall in love all over again. You get to learn about us from our friends and family."
Frowning, the blonde shook her head, her sparkling green eyes still closed. "But I don't want to learn about it from friends and family." She sighed.
Natalia's voice caressed Calleigh's senses. "You will learn all on your own... You just get to hear what others saw during this time. We thought that we were being so careful, but Horatio had known and covered for us."
Calleigh smiled at the thought of their boss, who seemed to be almost like a father figure to her. "Really?"
"Really... And Alexx too. I was trying to find you and someone tried to... Let's say... Delay me, and she distracted them long enough for me to find you." Looking behind her, Natalia saw that Jordan was walking behind her, making sure that she didn't fall. They were almost inside. "You would leave me flowers on my pillows or in the lab when we couldn't stay together."
Calleigh laughed softly, a light twinkling sound. "That sounds like me."
"You, Darlin', are a true Southern lady... You always leave me little things. Oh, that reminds me, I have an envelope with your things in it." Natalia purred.
Swallowing unconsciously at the tone in Natalia's voice, she licked her lips, Calleigh nodded slowly, wondering when she could open her eyes. "Okay... When am I supposed to open my eyes?"
They were in the middle of the living room, so Natalia took a step closer to her wife, whispering into her ear. "When do you want to open your eyes? Wouldn't you like to hear more?"
Goosebumps traveled down her back at the ideas that began to pop into her head, Natalia's voice was causing desire to course through her veins, licking her lips, and her voice became raspy. "I'll just keep them closed then."
"Hmm, what would you like me to tell you?" Natalia's voice dropping even lower.
Slowly opening shimmering jade eyes, Calleigh actually gasped at the look of desire and love on Natalia's face, and as much as she wanted to kiss her, she wanted to remember their life together more.
Looking around, she stared at their living room, the enormous black and white photos on the wall of horses, of them as a couple, random photos on the mantel, one in particular caught her eye. It was a photo of Natalia's cousin Jordan and another woman, dark haired and beautiful, with freckles across her nose and a large smile, the girl couldn't have been a day older than twenty-five, and curiously, she lifted the photo to look closer at it. "Who's this?"
Clearing her throat, Natalia glanced over to Jordan, remembering what she had told him earlier, 'Be precise.' "That is Grayson, Jordan's sister... She's away on family business right now."
Looking closely at the photo, there were some similarities between the two siblings, by definition their eye color was the same, though Jordan's was closer to Natalia's, the woman's were coal black. Jordan and the woman shared the same angelic beautiful features, straight noses, full lips, cherubic cheeks, long lashes, and jet-black hair; they were beautiful. Suddenly she found herself hoping that Natalia's baby would grow up to look like her two cousins and her wife, Natalia. "I hope she's as protective of you as Jordan is." Calleigh smiled.
Jordan snorted a laugh, and then turned away when Natalia glared at him. "Even more so."
Calleigh's eyebrows knitted together, she was missing something important, and she knew it. Looking at the dogs who were sitting outside, closely watching her with attentive eyes, she sighed. "They're kind of scary looking up close." She nodded to the dogs.
"Trust me; they are as sweet as could be." Natalia reassured her. "Would you like to look around the house or would you like to take a hot shower? I know you must want to clean up some."
Taking a long time to answer, watching the animals, especially the red and white pit-bull pace in front of the door, their eyes now locked onto Natalia. "A shower I think... And then a nap." The day had already begun to take its toll on her nerves, flashes of images, though broken, were enough to make her mind race constantly.
Reaching out to take Calleigh's hand, Natalia stopped herself, and turned to lead the way to their bedroom.
Keeping her hands clasped tightly together, the blonde followed Natalia into what must be their bedroom. Looking around at pictures, there were several, along with the sonogram photo of the baby, she could deduce that not only were they married, but they were madly in love with one another. Even though Calleigh couldn't remember any of it, yet she hoped; the idea that she had found her soul mate was comforting in its own right.
Pointing to the right side of the closet and the dresser, Natalia pointed out where Calleigh's clothes were while staying close to the door. This was a hard room for her to be in with the blonde... This was the room where they laid, and planned their life together, where they loved each other and where they had their quiet times. "Would you like for me to fix you something to eat?"
Fidgeting and stepping away from the brunette, suddenly all too aware of their proximity and her constant physical draw towards her. Moving towards the bed, she sighed somewhat pleasantly at the texture of the sheets of the bed they shared. The idea of a shower seemed to exhausting in that moment, the smell of the woman next to her was all around her, Calleigh's nerves relaxed and her eyes slipped closed, hugging a pillow. "No, thank you." She whispered, curling in on herself.
Reaching out, Natalia grabbed onto Jordan's hand, squeezing it hard. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she quietly cleared her throat. "Have a good sleep Calleigh. I'll be right out here when you wake up."
"Okay..." Calleigh's tiny voice responded after a long yawn, in moments, her breathing deepened and the tension in her body that remained, relaxed.
Closing the door, Natalia held back a sob until she was in Jordan's arm with her head against his chest. "Jordy What am I going to do?"
Rubbing her back, the younger man just held her for the longest time, humming softly. Softly he whispered. "You're going to love her, just like you always do. Be there for her, just like you always do. And you will get her back Just like you always do."
Finding comfort in her cousin's words, she nodded into his massive chest, her arms tightened around him. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed at the familiar scent that reminded her of both of the twins, sandalwood and motor oil. Grayson normally just smelt of sandalwood and lavender, but before she had left, Natalia had memorized the way she smelt from all the times she had stolen a hug. Sighing she looked up at Jordan. "I'm okay." Smiling weakly.
Looking down at her, Jordan shook his head. "No you're not. Why don't you go lie down? I promised Caden that I would let him go back to sleep, and you need to relax."
Natalia went to protest, but as Caden kicked hard at the sound of his name from his Uncle Jordan's lips, she relented. "You're right... thank you Jordan." She reached up, placing a hand on his cheek; she patted his face softly before walking into the guest room and laying down in bed. As soon as her head hit the pillow, Natalia could feel the exhaustion of the last few days settle over her, and she slipped into a deep slumber.
Jordan stood in the middle of the living room, looking first one way towards the guest room, and then the others towards the master bedroom. Who would have ever thought that the DuVista women would be in separate bedrooms?
Shaking his head, Jordan reached for his phone and punched in a number. "Hiya... Calleigh's home...Yeah, you won't believe it...Can you bring over some food so Natty won't have to cook... Yeah, I have to go to the bar for a while... Okay, see you then." Closing his phone, he settled down on the sofa to wait.
Two hours later, Sonia pulled her Jeep into DuVista driveway, slowly but carefully, picking up the bags of food, she knocked on the door after unloading it all from the car. Sighing and trying to ignore the memories of Jordan's sister that rolled over her in waves whenever she was around the DuVista family, Sonia fidgeted from one foot to another.
Jordan swung open the door, then reached out to take the bags of food. "Hey! Thanks... I really appreciate you coming over."
"Anything for the DuVista's, and for you, Jordan." Sonia whispered under her breath, walking into the house. It had become a custom when she was in the DuVista household for her to walk over and turn down the picture of the twins on the mantle. Ignoring the memories and words was hard enough, but to ignore her face was almost more than Sonia could bear. She sat down on the sofa while Adonis and Echo rubbed their faces against her legs for attention.
Putting the bags of food upon the kitchen counter, Jordan started unloading everything and getting out plates and glasses. He loved to cook, but no one had gone shopping since Calleigh had been in the hospital so that was on his list to do the next day.
Turning to the Latina, he posed a question. "Hey, did you want to come over here tomorrow and help me paint Caden's room?"
Sonia's eyes flickered to the mantle, Jordan had already turned down the picture of Grayson and himself which made her relax somewhat. Turning back to him and walking into the kitchen to help set up the food, she nodded. "What time do I need to be here?"
"How about ten? That way it's not too early and still a bit cool and when it warms up, we can jump in the pool." Jordan reached and pulled out a carrot stick, happily munching on it.
Rolling her eyes at the giant Bugs Bunny impersonator to her left, she was about to say something when she heard Natalia from the guest room. "Hey Sonia.. How are you?" She whispered, rubbing her eyes coming to stand at the counter with one hand over her tummy.
"I'm fine.. Today is a good day.." She hadn't woken up crying, clutching her pillow for Grayson in almost three nights; it was a personal best.
Grabbing another carrot, Jordan grinned before he wrapped Natalia in a gentle embrace and kissed her forehead. "I've got to go to the bar for a bit... Call me if you need anything." Turning to Sonia, he grabbed her quickly and dipped her before placing a gentle kiss also on her forehead. Looking at her shocked face, he stood her up, laughing. "You just looked like you needed to be dipped."
Smiling sadly, she hugged him tight, taking a deep breath, instantly regretting it as tears sprung to her eyes, memories flooding through her mind like a damn breaking. She turned away from both of them and busied herself with fixing Natalia a plate. "Thanks, have a good night and call me later Jordan."
Natalia looked over to her cousin and quickly waved him out. He inclined his head, saying, "Later ladies."
After he left, Natalia went over to Sonia, she wanted to take the young woman into a hug, but was unsure if that was the right thing to do. "Hey, do I have enough time to take a quick shower? I feel like I haven't had a hot bath in days, even though it was late last night."
Sonia nodded and kept her gaze downcast, on the dogs, or out the window into the backyard. "Yes." She conceded.
Natalia turned to go into her bedroom when she stopped and turned around. "I need to ask you a question. Did Jordan tell you anything about Calleigh?"
"No... Why, what's wrong?" Sonia was instantly at Natalia's side, holding her hand, concerned for her best friends.
Closing her eyes, Natalia sighed. "I don't know how to tell people and I've got to call her family." Walking over, she sat on the sofa with her young friend beside her. "Umm, Calleigh doesn't remember that we're a couple, she can't remember anything from a little over a year and a half ago." Suddenly, Natalia couldn't keep it to herself anymore and started to cry.
Wrapping arms around bronze shoulders, Sonia brought Natalia's head to her shoulder, letting her cry while she rubbed up and down her back.
Her voice breaking, Natalia whispered. "She doesn't remember either one of our weddings or even how we conceived Caden." Looking up at Sonia, Natalia's face was tear stained. "She asked me if Eric was the sperm donor... How am I supposed to tell her that one of her oldest friends tried to kill us? How do I even tell her that she killed an ex-boyfriend? I don't know what to say Sonia."
Wiping the tear stained cheeks, Sonia sighed and took Natalia's hand once again. "I would leave the details of the more gruesome things out of it until she's become comfortable around you once again, then let her ask her own questions." Sonia offered helplessly.
Clearing her throat, Natalia sat up and wiped her face. "I know, I just needed to hear it from someone else. Thank you. Listen, I'll be just a few minutes okay?" Getting up, Natalia quietly, opened up their bedroom door and went in.
Once inside, she saw that Calleigh was still curled up on the bed, holding her pillow, sound asleep. Smiling softly, she quietly got a change of clothes out of the dresser and went into the bathroom. Turning on the water, she slowly got undressed and got into the shower, almost moaning as the hot water cascaded over her head and down her body.
Emerald eyes slowly opened confused, Calleigh sat up wondering what had woken her. She became frightened when she couldn't remember where she was and who might be in the bathroom. Slowly it came back to her that it must be Natalia. This was their room and she had to get a change of clothes before going into the bathroom to shower. Slowly slipping off the bed, she moved to the door of the bathroom, the view caused heat to flash across her cheeks.
Natalia's beautiful body was on display with steaming lines of water slowly tracing over her form. Calleigh unknowingly licked her lips, continuing to stare, if she had any qualms about being married to this woman, they were long gone now. Backing out of the doorway, she slid back into the bed, feeling somewhat more comfortable now, her eyes slipping shut once more. "Natalia..." She whispered, falling into slumber again.
Turning her head, Natalia thought that she saw something at the door, but there was nothing there. Rinsing off the soap, she turned and let the water beat down on her shoulders. She wished that her troubles would just wash down the drain as easy as the soap did. Sighing, she turned off the water, opened the shower door, and grabbed a bath sheet. Drying off, she wrapped the towel around her body and started brushing out her hair. Closing out her eyes, she kept the image of her brushing Calleigh's hair out of her mind... Or at least she tried.
Finishing up, she unwrapped the towel from her body and tossed it into the clothes hamper before she pulled on a pair of drawstring pants and a t-shirt. Turning off the light, she walked out into the bedroom and stood beside the bed. Reaching down, she gently brushed golden hair away from Calleigh's face, before leaning over to place a gentle kiss on Calleigh's cheek. She murmured softly. "I love you Calleigh." Brushing her fingers along the blonde's cheek, Natalia straightened up and headed out into the living room.
Sonia was sitting at the bar top on a stool, staring long and hard at the photo in her hands. While Natalia had been in the shower, she had taken to walking around the house, finally ending up staring at the photo of Jordan and Grayson on the mantle. Sighing sadly, she ran her fingertips over her former lover's face worriedly.
Coming behind her friend, Natalia saw what she was holding and smiled sadly. "The women we love sure do put us through hell sometimes don't they, but I don't know about you, I wouldn't trade mine for anything in the world."
"Sometimes... I have my doubts." Sonia admitted. It was true. The longer that Grayson stayed away, the more she realized how different they truly were. Would she ever be able to tame her?
Sighing, Natalia thought that she understood what her friend was going through. Pushing herself away, she went around to find Calleigh's medication and looked at the clock. It was time for her to take them, but she was loath to awaken the blonde.
Laying the frame down flat on the counter, unable to look at any longer, Sonia nodded and set about making the blonde a plate of food and pouring her a glass of sweet tea. Next to it on a napkin, she placed a piece of bacon candy Natalia had made last week. Finally, she set the plate down at the table along with the drink and the treat, allowing herself to sit down and read the day's paper.
Opening the door, Natalia went into the bedroom to sit on the bed next to the blonde. Reaching out, she gently rubbed her back, talking softly. "Calleigh... Babe... You need to wake up... You need to eat something and to take your pain medicine."
Even in the deepest recess of her sleep-ridden brain, Calleigh knew that voice. While she had laid in the hospital, under the coma her body had used to protect her fragile state of mind, she had used that voice to pull through the fog.
Staring at her wife, Natalia whispered. "Cal...It's Natalia... You need to wake up. You're safe at home babe." Tears started to fall and the brunette quickly wiped them away before the blonde could see them.
Groaning as she rolled onto her back, still with her eyes closed and half asleep, Calleigh's hand sought out Natalia's. "Talia..." Her southern voice drawled deep in her sleep.
Sniffing quietly, Natalia answered. "Yes babe... How are you feeling? Are you ready to take a shower and get something to eat?"
Eyes slowly opened as she locked in on Natalia's voice. Sitting up slowly, she felt naturally drawn to lay her head on the dark woman's shoulder, but knew it was too much, too soon. She slid off the bed and away from Natalia. "Better thank you." She edged out of the room and into the bathroom, quietly disrobing and turning on the shower. Once it became warm, she kept her back to the doorway, letting warm water race down her body, soothing the tremors that racked her tiny frame. What if she could never truly remember everything?
Sitting on the bed, Natalia hung her head for a long moment. She had seen Calleigh's eyes and thought for a moment that there had been a memory, but whatever had been there was gone in a flash. Looking up, she caught a glimpse of the blonde in the shower trembling and without even thinking, she got off the bed to go into the bathroom. "Calleigh... Are you alright? Are you in pain?"
The fact that she was completely naked in a house that she didn't remember living in, in front of a woman she didn't remember falling in love with, in a marriage she couldn't remember being a part of, the blonde wasn't afraid, she was unsure. Shaking her head, she kept her back to Natalia. "No... Please just give me a moment..." She pleaded brokenly.
"Calleigh, I'm here if you should need me." Natalia turned away. To herself she whispered. "I love you."
Hearing the last words uttered by the brunette, even over the roar of the shower, brought Calleigh to her knee's, crying softly into her hands, she desperately sought to remember anything from her life.
Natalia heard the cry and turned to see her wife on her knees. Rushing inside the shower, she carefully lowered herself to the floor and gathered the weeping blonde into her embrace. "It's okay babe... I'm right here... You are not alone."
Calleigh buried her face in Natalia's neck as her body naturally curved into her wife's. It didn't matter that she couldn't remember anything from their time together, it was like her body knew her lover's, knew that it was in its rightful place in the world. Calleigh cried harder, she needed to know about their life together.
Feeling Calleigh's body mold into her, made Natalia close her eyes and fight back the tears that threatened to fall. She couldn't allow the blonde to see her break down, couldn't let her see her weak. Rubbing her hands over Calleigh's back, Natalia whispered against her hair. "It's okay baby, we'll get through this."
Wrapping wet arms around Natalia's swollen mid section, Calleigh bonded herself physically to Natalia, the words anchoring her in a sudden sea of loneliness. The shaking and crying quieted eventually after long moments.
Kissing the head underneath her chin, Natalia held onto her wife, not know how long she would allow her to be this close to her.
As if reading her wife's thoughts, Calleigh suddenly became aware of how naked she was, pressed against the taller woman. Blushing hotly, she tried to cover herself, but to no avail.
Natalia knew the instant that Calleigh became uncomfortable and loosened her arms, and moved away the best that she could.
Even though she was naked, Calleigh helped the pregnant woman to her feet. She wasn't without a heart, though she did try to hide her body. "I I..." She stuttered for a moment, embarrassed, she clamped down angrily on it and continued. "I'll be out in a moment."
Getting out of the shower, Natalia grabbed another towel, dried herself off, never taking off her clothes until she grabbed a clean set of clothes, and quickly walked out. With her head down, she walked through the living room and went into the spare bedroom, to sit down on the bed. Dropping her head to her hands, Natalia cried.
Waiting until Natalia walked out of the bathroom before turning off the water and getting out of the shower, Calleigh wrapped a towel around her body, before she sat dejectedly on the vanity stool, staring down at the floor.
Her life wasn't supposed to be like this But what was it supposed to be like? She was supposed to be happy, but if the pictures were true, she was. She was supposed to be loved, and if the look on Natalia's face meant anything at all, she was loved more than she ever dreamed of.
Picking up a hairbrush, she raised her head to start brushing out her hair. Looking in the mirror, she was bombarded with images of her sitting there numerous times before with Natalia standing behind her, doing just that to her. Images of them nude, wrapped in towels, of her with bandages over her eyes and all of them with Natalia standing behind her, brushing her hair.
Closing her eyes, she quickly brushed out the tangles out of her hair and got up to walk into the bedroom. Once there she sees a manila envelope on the dresser with 'Calleigh DuVista' handwritten on it. Opening it up, she tilted it on its side and her wallet, a bracelet, a necklace, and a plastic bag dropped onto the dresser top.
Looking through the wallet, she found her driver's license with her married name on it, some cash and a picture of her and Natalia on a beach wearing very similar outfits, looking very happy and very much in love.
Putting everything back in the wallet, Calleigh picked up the bracelet, twisting and turning it in her hands. The mother and child charm had some blood on it, so she took it and went back into the bathroom to find some alcohol to clean it.
Afterwards she put it on, then the necklace which had a stone the reminded her of Natalia's eyes, and went back into the bedroom to look in the plastic bag. Inside was a small blue box, and upon opening it up, Calleigh found an antique, powder puff blue cameo of a mother and child. Drawing in a breath, she knew that she had bought that for Natalia and she could give it to her now and the brunette would love it, but she decided to wait. To give it to her when Or if she got back her memory.
Closing the box, she put it in a drawer on her side of the dresser and then got dressed. Taking a deep breath to prepare herself to see Natalia and Jordan in the living room, Calleigh opened the bedroom door and walked out.
Instead of the cousins, Calleigh found a young woman that looked vaguely familiar.
Sonia was placing the photo back on the mantle face down when she was greeted with a slightly wary Calleigh. "Hi.." She murmured hesitantly.
Walking over to the woman, Calleigh drew her forehead together in thought, then rubbed her hand across her face for a moment, then her eyes went wide. "Sonia... Sonia...Bautista. I arrested you for pick pocketing... Right?"
"Yes... Though I have completely changed my life since then. I own a restaurant now... Del's. It's one of your favorites, you eat there with Natalia sometimes." She smiled and nodded to the food on the countertop. "I brought you some food."
"Wow, well congratulations, and thank you." Looking around the room, Calleigh didn't see Natalia or Jordan. "Where did Jordan and Natalia go? Did they already eat?"
"No, Natalia is in the guest bedroom changing, maybe taking a nap. She might need some time to herself..." Sonia walked back into the kitchen, deciding maybe she should try to eat something as well. "Jordan had to go to work."
Looking towards the guest bedroom, Calleigh tried to decide whether or not she should go check on Natalia, but decided that Sonia might be right, Natalia might need some time to herself.
Turning towards the young woman, Calleigh sat up on a bar stool and asked. "So what does Jordan do?"
Moving around the bar area, Sonia pulled a sandwich out of the bag, setting it on a plate followed by a small bag of chips, taking her time to answer. "He owns a bar called Lucky's near the south side of town." Was all she said; nothing more and nothing less than what her blonde friend asked for.
"Really.... He doesn't take me as a bar owner." Calleigh looked around the kitchen, taking in the well-seasoned iron skillet on the stovetop and the butcher block cutting board over in the corner. "So which one of us likes to cook, me or Natalia?"
"Natalia... It's in her blood, though the both of you together cook quite often and you have an excellent BBQ recipe that you won't share the secret of." Sonia smiled sitting down next to Calleigh, beginning to eat.
"What else is in that bag over there? I'm so hungry I could eat a horse?" Calleigh joked.
Pushing the plate over to the blonde, Sonia grumbled. "Nothing new.."
Turning to look at Sonia, Calleigh wondered what had gotten her upset. "I'm sorry if I've done something to offend you... Aw forget it."
Pushing away the plate, Calleigh got off the bar stool and turned towards the open sliding doors, staring out at the back yard. After a moment or two, she took a couple of steps out onto the stone deck.
Following her outside, Sonia put her hand on the blonde's shoulder. "We were friends after you caught me, you helped me turn my life around. You can't offend me Cal... I'm just worried about you that's all." She smiled.
Shaking her head, Calleigh brushed off the apology. "It's not your fault... It's not my fault... I don't know who's fault it is, but this is so frustrating." Running her hands through her hair, Calleigh almost growled. "May I should go and find a hotel. I'm sure that this is much harder for Natalia. She has to look at me and wonder if she's lost me forever. I can start from where I remember and make a new life."
"Don't... Calleigh please, listen to me, no matter how hard it is for Natalia, it would crush her if you left." Sonia tried to explain. "And I know frustrating... I'm in love with Jordan's sister... And the feeling is apparently one sided." She sighed trying to make the blonde understand.
Turning to the young woman, Calleigh could see the pain in her eyes and instantly wrapped her arms around her, hugging her tightly. "I'm sure that Gray loves you very much... Maybe she just doesn't know how to show it?"
Hugging the blonde back Sonia laughed lightly. "When you remember Gray, you'll understand the truth behind that statement.." Releasing her friend, she nudged her towards the house. "Go see if Natalia is ready to eat, I'm sure by now she should be.." Sonia smiled though, thinking maybe the two women needed some nudges occasionally.
Turning towards the house, Calleigh went inside and stood in front of the guest room, blocked by the door, undecided if she should knock or walk on in. Taking a deep breath, she opened the blockade; peering in. The evening sky made just enough light to see Natalia laying on her back with her hand tucked underneath her chin.
Quietly closing the door, Calleigh padded over and knelt next to the bed, looking at the slumbering woman. The beauty of this woman tugged at something deep inside her soul and it scared the blonde. What would happen if she couldn't remember, but knew that she belonged with Natalia? Could Natalia be happy and live with that, with Calleigh having no memory of their former life together? As Calleigh moved her gaze along the sleeping body, she noticed a small hand indentation appear on the side of Natalia's body. Without thought, she reached out and traced a finger over the hand as she subconsciously whispered, "Caden."
Natalia had woke the instant Calleigh had touched her, but she stayed completely still, afraid to frighten the blonde off. It was the blonde's son as well, she'd be damned if she purposefully scared her away.
"Hello little man. I'm so sorry I can't remember you. I'm gonna try my hardest and do my best though... One day I'll hopefully remember." Calleigh whispered; sighed as she bowed her head, still touching Natalia's stomach. She was frustrated knowing just enough to realize she knew so little.
Covering the blonde's hand with her own, Natalia finally spoke. "That's all we want Calleigh..." She whispered, opening her eyes to look at the top of the blondes head.
"What happens though if I don't though ? Do I have to leave? Where would I go? What rules come with this situation?" Picking up her head, Calleigh looked at Natalia with tears in her eyes.
"There aren't any rules. You never have to leave Calleigh All is fair in love and war..."
Looking down at their hands, Calleigh marveled at the differences; one bronze and the other a light tan; both with long elegant fingers, but with one being more calloused. "What if I can't remember our past, but I want to try for a future? What happens then?"
"Then we get a chance to fall in love twice Calleigh " She raised one hand to cup a peach colored cheek, rubbing it softly with a thumb. "Believe that time can heal all wounds Even memory loss."
Leaning into the caress, Calleigh closed her eyes, and on the edge of her memory, she could see that she had done the same action many times before. Afraid to move, lest she lose the thought, she whispered. "I want my life back, and I'm scared that it's gone, and that this new life won't measure up to what you need, and that I will fail you and Caden. I can't fail at this... This is too important. I need to know that you can live with me not remembering how we fell in love, how we decided to get married or to have a family. I may never remember those times, and they are important to what we are. I need to know if you can live with that, because I honestly don't know if I can... But I want to try."
"When it comes to our marriage To our family To us Calleigh, I'm willing to lay it all on the line just to help you get your memory back. We've been through too much for me to lose you now... Our lives aren't gone, we are merely on pause " She whispered brokenly.
"But seriously Natalia, what happens if I don't get anything back? Can you handle that?" Calleigh was shaking now.
"We can handle that together... Would you want to be with me still... If you couldn't remember the first time I made love to you?" Natalia whispered softly, sitting up slowly, now bringing Calleigh into a comforting hug.
Leaning into the hug, Calleigh sighed and closed her eyes, praying that she would get her memory back, but also praying that she would be strong enough to handle if she didn't. After a few moments, the blonde pulled back. "You need to come and eat. When was the last time that you had a good meal?"
"This morning, Jordy makes sure that I eat on a regular basis... He's almost like a step-father figure." she laughed softly to herself, hugging the blonde tighter still. "As long as we have each other Calleigh, we will be alright."
"I hope so." Was whispered. Pulling away hesitantly, Calleigh stood up, holding out her hand to help Natalia up off the bed.
"I know so..." Natalia took her hand slowly, rising to her feet and allowing the blonde to help her out to the kitchen, noticing Sonia had already left.
Looking around, Calleigh felt a slight twinge of fear, as the living room was dark save the light coming in from the kitchen; she paused in the doorway.
With a short whistle, Echo and Adonis were at Natalia's feet, stone still waiting for further commands, their yellow eyes locked on hers. Echo whined softly before going quiet, Natalia smiled reaching down to pat the basketball size heads of her cousin's former dogs. "See told you they were good for something." Natalia whispered.
Calleigh stared down at the dogs for a moment, before she said. "I'm still not sure about them being around a baby, but if you're comfortable with it, I will get used to it." Edging away from the door, she made her way along the walls, not yet daring to cross through the middle of the dark room.
Natalia reached over to flick on a light, illuminating the whole room. "Before the accident, you prowled the house nightly with both animals to ensure my safety." She tilted her head to the side, watching the blonde, her actions were similar to when she had lost her sight. An unknowing silent sigh rolled out of her throat, hoping confidence would return in the only person she's loved with her entire existence. Insecurities be damned if she could break through this small blockade and reassure the woman she'd married twice that life would be okay if they kept going, relearning some of the past and falling in love again.
Shaking her head, the blonde couldn't reconcile that image. "That was the before me, right now, I'm not so sure." Finally she reached the kitchen. Noticing Sonia had left their food warming, Calleigh started plating. As she put the plates on the counter, she saw the piece of bacon candy that Sonia had left on a napkin and she picked it up and smelled it. A wide grin exploded on her face before she popped it in her mouth and happily chewed. "I love bacon."
"It's bacon candy, I make a batch every week with Sonia for you. We also keep some in the gun vault in a drawer, and some in my desk in the lab." Natalia laughed, sitting down slowly while Adonis curled up by the front door, staring out the glass window with his large head resting on the ledge like he was waiting for something, Echo laid at Natalia's feet, her yellow eyes staring up at her.
"Wow, thank you." Calleigh didn't know what else to say. "Bacon candy... Go figure."
Nodding, Natalia smiled. "Did you speak with Sonia before she left? You two were friends before the accident." She added thoughtfully.
Taking a sip of tea, Calleigh nodded her head. "Yeah, I remember arresting her. I think that it was about a year or so ago before the George Kornspan incident."
"Yes." Natalia nodded again, taking small bites of food, thinking to herself, occasionally handing a piece of food down to Echo, who delicately licked it from her fingertips.
Calleigh remained quiet for the rest of the meal; she had millions of questions, but couldn't decide which one to ask first. She couldn't help but wonder exactly what happened in the past to lead to this but she was thankful for the woman beside her was willing to help her through.
Pushing the now empty plate away, Calleigh turned to look at Natalia and saw that she was looking out over the stone patio of the back yard.
"Why me? What made you fall in love with me?" Calleigh quietly asked.
A few moments of silence was only broken by the sounds of a neighborhood getting ready for the night. "Your dedication to your jobs and friends. The way that you did your job while maintaining your objectiveness and the way that you stood by me when it came out that I was the mole. You knew that I had been put in an impossible situation and had just been doing my job. You always treated me with respect and always made sure that everyone else did to. We became close friends and then one day, it became so much more."
Turning to look Calleigh directly in the face, Natalia finally admitted for the first time, "I'll be honest with you. I had been ah... Infatuated, enamored, in love with you for quite awhile before you showed up at my doorstep. Then things just happened and we decided to go on from there."
Calleigh's face grew warm under Natalia's gaze until she had to look away from the love and want that she saw in the copper colored eyes.
Standing and picking up the empty plates, she took the dishes over to the sink. With her back to the brunette, Calleigh whispered a question. "Even with all of that, was it worth it to end up like this, with me without my memory?"
She heard the chair being pushed back, then felt Natalia standing behind her, placing her hands on Calleigh's hips. "While we have gone through some horrific situations that I won't go through tonight, I wouldn't trade anything as long as you ended up here, willing to try to remember and to work things out. As long as we try to make this work for us, not against us, we can get through it."
Raising her hand, Natalia was about to thread her fingers in the golden hair, when she stopped herself. That may be too much for Calleigh to handle, so she backed off.
"Um, I'm really quite tired. Sleeping in that easy chair was the best idea for my back so if you don't mind, I'm going to say good night. You can sleep in our bedroom and I'll stay in the guest room."
Quickly, Calleigh turned around. "No, I wouldn't have you sleeping in the guest room. You and Caden need and deserve your own bed. I can stay in the guest room."
Without thought, Natalia reached out. "Stay with me Sleep with me Calleigh. I won't touch you, but it may help you jar your memory. And to be totally honest, I sleep better with you next to me, so does Caden."
Looking at the brunette, Calleigh saw the hope in her eyes, and couldn't take that away from her. "Okay, let me clean up here and I'll meet you in there."
Natalia agreed, excusing herself and headed towards the bedroom, but doubled back, slipping out onto the patio to enjoy the night air. The brunette walked to the edge of the patio where grass met stone and with a long breath, she raised her face to the heavens, quietly praying. "Lord you know we DuVista's have asked you for your help on many occasions and this time is no different. I beg for the strength you give us once again. With our son on the way Calleigh's memory loss, all I can ask for is the will to keep fighting. This may not be the last... So I make no promise I won't call upon you again." She paused as a few tears rolled down her face only to pick back up again. "Please help me piece my family back together and keep them from harm's way "
Calleigh finished cleaning up the kitchen, so she turned out the light and headed for the master bedroom. She still couldn't make herself to walk through the living room; so once again, she walked along the walls in that direction when she saw a glimpse of Natalia standing outside at the edge of the patio. Going to the doorway, she caught the end of the prayer and whispered. "Amen."
Turning around, Natalia smiled and walked through the patio doors. She led the way into their bedroom where she slowly opened up drawers, pulling out her own nightclothes, and then excused herself into the bathroom to change. "I'll be right back...'' She promised, though Echo followed her into the bathroom and Adonis sat at the edge of the bed watching Calleigh impassively.
Staring right back, Calleigh muttered. "It's not nice to stare, you know?" Shaking her head, she murmured to herself. "Great, now I'm talking to dogs... What's next? Doing circus tricks?"
The red and white pit bull growled at her for a moment before hopping off the bed to sit and stare at her nightstand drawer, waiting impatiently.
"What?" Calleigh straightened out the bed from her earlier nap, and then sat at the edge to await Natalia, glancing at the dog every few moments.
Letting out a huff of warm air, Adonis set his football helmet sized head on her knee, whimpering softly.
Peeking through the crack in the door, Natalia smiled.
Reaching down, the blonde hesitantly scratched behind his ears and grinned as the dog leaned into her hand, evidently enjoying the action.
Pushing open the bathroom door, Natalia sat down next to Calleigh in white lounge pants and a loose large band tee shirt from the early nineties. "You know... He likes it when you scratch under his chin, he saves that just for you and Gray." Natalia laughed, leaning down to scratch behind Echo's ears, and then unbuckling the large leather collar that had her name inscribed on it.
Looking over to the brunette, who was talking softly to the dog, Calleigh just watched her for a moment, trying to see her the way that she should be seen; as a loving wife and soon to be mother. And part of her saw that and felt the rightness, but there was still a large part of her that felt that there was something else going on, something in the darkness of her mind.
As if knowing what the blonde was thinking, Natalia's eyes turned towards Calleigh's; full of hope, devotion and most of all love and compassion.
They stared at each other for a few moments before Calleigh cleared her throat, saying. "Is Caden ready to go to sleep?"
Placing a hand over her stomach, Natalia nodded, but leaned over Calleigh, removing Adonis's collar. "They don't like sleeping in them for some reason." She admitted. Laying both collars on the chair next to their bed, Natalia took Calleigh's hand helping her stand up off the bed so she could pull the sheets back.
Calleigh stood there for a moment, not doing anything. "Which side do you prefer to sleep on?"
"We don't have sides baby..." She said before she could stop herself, Natalia walked over to the left side, sitting down with her back to Calleigh, trying to calm her nerves and Caden's. He hadn't stopped fluttering since Calleigh had agreed to sleep in the bed with her.
Smiling at the slip, Calleigh went around, sitting next to her. "You don't have to stop calling me your pet names. It's kind of nice." Looking down at Natalia's hand that was rubbing her belly, she couldn't help, but ask. "Is he running a track meet in there?"
Caden instantly stopped fluttering and pressed a tiny hand up against Calleigh's gentle rubbing. Natalia had relaxed and instantly closed her eyes under Calleigh's touch, it felt like home. "Yeah..." she whispered. "He becomes upset when you're not nearby... Work has become difficult when you're out at a scene."
"I take it that I come in and talk with him as soon as I walk into the building." Inhaling, Calleigh caught a faint whiff of lavender.
"Yes, you stop by the evidence room, deposit whatever you have, then drop your tools off in the vault. After that, you come to talk to your son." Natalia whispered softly, lying down on her back, allowing Calleigh to continue to keep physical contact with their child.
Calleigh started to reach for the hem of Natalia's shirt, when she stopped herself and looked up to her face. "May I raise your shirt just a little please?"
Eyebrows knitted together for a moment, afraid Calleigh would bolt again, Natalia took a deep breath. "Yes."
Gingerly raising the shirt, Calleigh bunched it up under Natalia's breasts and then placed her hand once again on the brunette's extended belly. Instantly, a little protrusion pressed up against it, making her grin. "Hello in there... You are very active tonight, but it is time to let your mommy go to sleep. Your momma has been keeping her up and worrying far too much, so you need to curl up and go to sleep. I promise that I'll still be here in the morning."
Natalia was asleep underneath Calleigh's hands before her impromptu speech for their baby had finished.
Staring at the woman who had said that she loved her without restraint, brought some peace to Calleigh's mind, before images of Natalia lying in different rooms flashed before her. Some of the images had blood while others didn't... What had happened to them?
Sighing, Calleigh carefully got up and walked around the bed before laying down on the other side, curled so that she could look at Natalia. It wasn't too long before her eyes closed and she drifted off to sleep.
She was sitting in a school desk in front of a blackboard where a figure dressed in black stood in front of a blackboard that was showing scenes from their life together; their first kiss, the first time that they went out as a couple, the wedding down in Key West and the moment they found out that the baby was a boy.
Emotions flowed through the air like bright colors; jade green, icy blue, bright copper and golden yellow wove in and out into a spectacular design. Looking back at the board, she was aghast to see the figure pick up an eraser and begin to wipe the images away.
The intricate design began to unravel as the images disappeared and she stood up to start to scream, "No! We need those."
The figure in black turned to face her, and she saw that it was wearing a phantom mask, covering half of its face. "You have to fight for what you want. Do you want the memories; then you need to share them. You need to keep Calleigh close to you. You'll need her more than ever, just as much as she needs you now."
Calleigh's eyes fluttered open slowly as she felt movement in the bed next to her. Turning slightly, she saw Natalia's body bathed in a line sheen of sweat. twisting in the sheets back and forth. "No... WE NEED THOSE." she kept muttering over and over. Moving over, Calleigh gently caressed her face, murmuring softly until the brunette woke up.
"Hey Talia It's ok Wake up."
Natalia's eyes flew open, and immediately focus in on Calleigh's face. "Are you ok? What's the matter?"
Looking down, Calleigh's eyes mapped Natalia's face, reached up to wipe the worry lines from the brunette's forehead. "You just had a bad dream, but it's ok now. Do you think that you can go back to sleep."
Nodding her head, Natalia was ecstatic when Calleigh laid her head on her shoulder and laid her arm around her waist.
As Natalia held Calleigh, the tiny flutters deep inside her rose up like a warm tide, then subsided just as quickly. If it had been in her power, Natalia would have gladly taken the burden upon herself. Calleigh was her world, without the blonde, nothing worked. How would she go to the lab and face the blonde every day knowing what they had been in the past and the shadow of it all now?
Could she live with it? Could she live with the knowledge that Calleigh might become a different person? Deep down she was terrified, so many things were fighting against them, pulling them apart. Tears pricked the back of her eyelids, was she strong enough for the both of them?
The brunette's thoughts turned to Jordan's words hanging onto them for dear life; she would love Calleigh no matter what. Loving Calleigh was as natural to her as air was to the world. It was just there. Burying her face in golden locks, her hands silently and softly rubbing the blondes back, Natalia finally turned her mind to Grayson.
The last time they had parted, she had seen lack of scars, her full body, why would she be cutting back on her training. Why weaken herself? And why the hell, would she wear a mask, it made sense though, sort of. Tears streamed down her face as her thoughts grew slightly darker. This was what her cousin had apparently been waiting two decades for, one last dance. Natalia needed to understand and realize that there was a large chance Grayson would either not live or never come back. In all actuality, there was a staggering feeling deep in her that suspected she would never see Grayson again. She may not die, no. Her revenge could be complete but would it cost all of them their lives, Natalia and Calleigh their badges and Jordan his sanity?
Bringing a light kiss to the blonde's temple, snuggling them close back together, Natalia instantly slipped into slumber.
A tall, exceptionally cruel looking man strode down the stone hallway, it's enormous arches allowing his fine Italian leather footsteps to sound even more expensive and intimidating. The man seemed deep in thought, both hands in his Armani slacks pockets, his hair slicked back, Stefan Mancini was handsome, but cruel in every way the word described. Known for his brutal and sadistic tactics rivaled only by his Mentor, Denato Cerano, not to mention his frighteningly charming smile, his soothing voice, fine taste in wine, and even finer taste in women. Though it was a well-known fact that the only woman he truly desired he couldn't have.
Pushing open large terrace doors to an outside patio where there were several beautiful women waiting for him along with numerous bottles of rare wine. Loosening his tie, Stefano smiled smugly at the women who rushed up to him, kissing him on the cheek, offering him a glass of wine, removing his tie. Before he could fully relax though, his cell phone began to ring incessantly. The only people that had his direct line were his informants, his friends, his bookie, his dealer, his female friends didn't even have this number. He didn't recognize the number so he opened it, annoyed.
"What? I am in the middle of something " He growled in lightly accented English. The voice rapidly spoke into the phone relaying information.
At first he was in disbelief, then it was shock, then anger, and then a delightful feeling of control followed by cruel urges.
"Thank you for calling. I will have the correct funds wired tonight. As always, keep your ears open for the Familia.." Stefano smiled ending the phone call and excusing himself from the table. Several women complained loudly before he kissed them all gently.
"I'm sorry ladies, but when the FBI calls with information of the utmost importance, I best deliver it." He murmured darkly, most of the women paled and nodded moving the party further down the patio. Stefan left the group ,quietly walking past the garage.
"Grayson, Grayson, Grayson, oh my, my, my How will your Grandfather react?" Stefan whispered gleefully to himself striding into the house through the large front doors.
Denato Cerano was sitting in his study examining an early fifteenth century crossbow when his personal bodyguard, Stefan Mancini, cleared his throat, walking up behind him. Normally Stefan would not dare enter this particular room without permission from his mentor, but this was a specific incident that called for an impromptu visit without an announcement. The fireplace in the private study was roaring, in the evening chill.
"Denato..." He spoke softly hesitantly; the eldest Cerano had quite a temper and was not one to be trifled with. Stefan was no slouch himself, standing at six feet two inches, at two hundred and seventy five pounds, and built like a linebacker. Smoothing back his dark hair, he then straightened his suit and tried to look presentable, though his thoughts were running rampant.
"Yes Stefan... I am busy at the moment, don't you have something better to do than annoy me?" Denato snapped, standing to his full height of six foot five inches. Even in his older years, Denato Cerano was a large muscular man; something like Michael Clark Duncan from the Green Mile would be fitting to his physical stature. He stood a few inches taller than his protégé.
"I just received a call from one of our informants in the FBI, Padrone." Stefan backed away from the senior Cerano. Using the honorific form of master in their mother language, he bowed his head low.
"What is it Stefan? I do not have all day." Denato walked over to a large table, setting down the crossbow and pouring a liberal amount of scotch into a small glass. The elderly Cerano was not known for his lasting patience, more so his infinite cruelty and greed.
"There is other Cerano's still living..." Stefan dropped the bomb before stepping further back away from Grayson's grandfather.
Taking a long sip, Denato turned around slowly. "Antonia's children?" He growled, dark eyes burning in hatred. "Which one, I know there is Natalia the eldest The other two I am unclear on their age, though I believe their names were Anya and Christine?"
"Yes... And further more... They have had contact with Grayson and Jordan, so we think." Stefano relayed the damning information.
The small glass was thrown into the fireplace with a loud crack, the flames growing from the alcohol. "Bring me the eldest And whoever is with her. It's time to set another example of what happens when you try to take what is rightfully mine " Denato growled. "Like mother, like daughter "
"And Jordan...?" Stefan smiled victoriously. With Jordan gone, Grayson would be his, nothing standing in his way.
Taking a moment to consider it seemed that Denato would have mercy. The moment was short lived however. "My grandson's interfering days are over. Bring him to me as well."
"As you wish." Stefan bowed low, leaving his Padrone to his works.
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